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Leading female entrepreneurs from across the MENA region were celebrated at GITEX GLOBAL 2021, which teamed up with TiE Global, an initiative of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), to embrace, engage and empower women entrepreneurs across the globe, for the 2nd TiE Women Global Pitch Competition. After attracting more than 100 applications from across the MENA region, including UAE; Egypt; Bahrain; Jordan; Lebanon; Oman and Saudi Arabia, 40 finalists spanning Life Sciences & Healthcare; Fintech; Healthtech; Retail and eCommerce; Arts; EdTech and more were chosen to travel to Dubai for the grand final this week where they were given a platform to showcase their innovation and ideas for the chance to win a share of $100,000.

After an intense competition at Dubai World Trade Centre, which included workshops, 1:1 mentoring sessions and the pitch presentation Neha Jain, Founder and CEO Zero Circle, claimed the first prize of $75,000. Myra Arshad, Co-founder and CEO, ALT Text, claimed the second prize of $15,000 and Farah Emara, Co-founder and CEO, FreshSource, took third place and $10,000.

Bollywood Actor Vivek Oberoi, who was one of the mentors for the competition, said: “I am in awe of the TiE Women initiative and the team has worked hard to bring women from across the globe to this massive platform to present their work.”

She Loves Data, the global tech upskilling non-profit, launched its first Middle Eastern chapter in the UAE on the third day of GITEX GLOBAL, aiming to empower women within the region to succeed. She Loves Data CEO and Co-founder, Jana Marle-Zizkova said, the inclusion of the Middle East was “significant” for She Loves Data’s global expansion.

Middle East Chapter Co-Leads Begum Saygecitli, Azure Infrastructure Lead at Microsoft MEA said, “There is a clear and positive change emerging in the Middle East in terms of how women are seeking to be the best versions of themselves by upskilling. Making women part of this holistic movement helps to accelerate the drive towards a more data-driven and productive economy in the Middle East.”

Speaking on the blue stage at GITEX Global 2021 in a session titled ‘Enabling Education Across the Globe: Connecting Schools Through the Giga Initiative,’ Dr. Tariq Al Gurg outlined the goal of the Giga Initiative to connect every school in the world to the internet. “Connectivity has to be a right for children in schools. Just as education is a right. Our goal is to create an ecosystem that will provide connections for schools around the world. We want to get 500 million children connected by 2030.”

Dr. Al Gurg acknowledged the work that has been done across 40 countries and called on the private sector to play their part, not just through funding but in providing content for future curricula that would be taught in connected schools. Alex Wong, Chief of Special Initiatives at the ITU Telecoms Department Bureau, added the initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership to see connection achieved and fully adopted within schools.

In his keynote address at the Huawei Arab Innovation Day as part of GITEX Global 2021, the world’s largest technology showcase this year, HE. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said private sector entities are best placed to not only deliver technological breakthroughs but to develop the “most important” resource – IT skillsets.

In a session attended by H.E Arkan Shahab, Minister of Communications, Iraq and H.E. Sameera Ebrahim Bin Rajb, Special Envoy for the Royal Court & Minister, Minister Al Falasi said the ministry of economy is working towards creating a public-private partnership which will leverage the resources of large entities to empower SMEs and startups to reach the next level.

Catherine Chen, Senior VP, Director of the Board & President of Public Affairs & Communications Dept, Huawei, said the firm had helped GCC countries build 14 5G networks covering over 95% of the Arab population and praised the UAE as a leading digital economy in the Arab world.

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